Dr Patrick van der Veek and colleagues from the Netherlands found visceral hypersensitivity is a hallmark of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
However, the relationship with clinical symptoms and psychological factors has not been fully established.
The team evaluated these variables in a large cohort of irritable bowel syndrome patients.
The patients were recruited from both hospital and general practice, and in healthy controls.
The research team assessed which of these factors predicts the occurrence of visceral hypersensitivity in irritable bowel syndrome.
|Hypersensitivity to rectal distention occurred in 33% of patients|
|Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
The team assessed rectal compliance and perception by a rectal barostat study in 101 irritable bowel syndrome patients and 40 healthy volunteers.
Irritable bowel syndrome symptom severity was scored by using a 14-day 5-item diary.
The team assessed anxiety, depression, somatization, vigilance, pain coping, dysfunctional cognitions, psychoneuroticism, and quality of life with psychometric questionnaires.
The researchers found that rectal compliance was significantly reduced in irritable bowel syndrome patients compared with controls, as were thresholds for pain and urge.
Levels of anxiety, depression, neuroticism, somatization, and dysfunctional cognitions were significantly increased in irritable bowel syndrome patients vs controls.
In contrast, pain coping and quality of life were significantly worse.
The team found hypersensitivity to rectal distention occurred in 33% of patients and was associated with increased symptom severity.
Hypersensitivity to rectal distention was not associated with demographic characteristics or psychological disturbances.
Dr van der Veek's team concluded, "Hypersensitivity to balloon distention occurs in 33% of irritable bowel syndrome patients and is predicted by symptom severity but not by psychological or demographic characteristics."